Allegations fly over Sierra College bond initiatives
ROCKLIN (AP) – Sierra Joint Community College District trustee Aaron Klein has asked Sierra College President Kevin Ramirez to resign over allegations that Ramirez potentially violated campaign finance laws.Klein, who was elected as trustee in November, alleges that Ramirez was involved in or knew of the transfer of $105,000 from a Sierra College nonprofit organization to a political action committee for a failed bond measure in March and two bond measures – including Measure H in Truckee and North Tahoe – approved by voters on Nov. 2.Klein is asking state and Placer County officials to investigate.Ramirez, who has led Sierra College for more than a decade, said he won’t step down and that there were no violations of campaign finance laws during the bond campaigns.Klein said the contribution from the nonprofit foundation “allowed the administration to hide the true identities of donors to the bond campaigns’ political committees.”But Ramirez said the names of all donors were disclosed as soon as questions were raised about the contributions in October.At issue is Sierra College Foundation’s donation of $60,000 to a political committee that urged passage of a $394 million bond in March and a subsequent donation of $45,000 to two November bond measures calling for repairs and expansion of satellite campuses, one of which is planned for Truckee’s McIver Hill.Ramirez said the foundation donated the money after receiving legal advice that it could contribute 20 percent of its funds to advocacy issues under Internal Revenue Service laws.Klein said the foundation’s activities violate the state Political Reform Act, which forbids an organization from accepting political donations without the proper filing disclosures.
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